University of Pennsylvania transgender swimmer Lia Thomas won the 500 free event at the NCAA Women’s Championships by 1.75 seconds Thursday.
In first place, Thomas finished at 4:33.24, according to results published on swimmeetresults.tech. The three runners-up swam 4:34.99, 4:35.92, and 4:36.18.
Thomas also won the Thursday morning qualifier, beating the second-place swimmer by 2.97 seconds, a time difference greater than the gap between second and 11th place in the same event, according to results published by SwimSwam.
Thomas, a biological male, competed on the men’s team for three years before assuming a female identity and joining the women’s team. Thomas was ranked No. 462 nationally in men’s swim and is now ranked No. 1 in women’s, teammates wrote in an anonymous letter to the university.
Thomas’ participation in women’s swimming has sparked renewed debate about transgender athletes and internal conflicts on the Penn team. One teammate anonymously told a reporter she felt uncomfortable sharing a locker room with Thomas, the Daily Mail reported.
USA Swimming released new guidelines for transgender swimmers Feb. 1 that required males competing in the women’s category to demonstrate testosterone levels within a certain range but explicitly denied that biological males retain any athletic advantage over females after hormone therapy. The NCAA did not adopt these rules for its 2021-2022 swim season.
University of Pennsylvania Swim did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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